But as I walked my dogs back tonight from their evening routine in the park, I thought about the puzzle of some people I have known in my life who have such wonderful gifts and opportunities... and how much misery some of them create for themselves, their families and their wider circles. Misery is a popular subject with some in our circles of translation, and it's easy enough to identify persons, companies or technologies to stand in the roles of greater or lesser Satans, and the facts and arguments behind some of the finger pointing are sometimes clear and well-grounded.
If we stand firm-stanced and triumphant in the field, our dragons slain and scattered in pieces at our feet, will we be happy, and for how long? Are we grateful for a new opportunity or insight or are we more concerned with missed opportunities past, the prospect of failure or the cost of late understanding?
There was a passing comment from the old monk somewhere after the 12-minute mark in which he made an interesting contrast between equality and equality of respect. The former is difficult, sometimes impossible and probably even often undesirable to achieve. But the latter, I believe, is very much in the grasp of all, and it might go a long way toward the bad conditions for which we often call for some sort of "equality" as a remedy.
One of the greatest problems I see in current controversies in translation which involve crowdsourcing, machine pseudo-translation (MpT) and machine pseudo-translation post-editing, the creeping deprofessionalization and demonetization promoted by Translators Without Borders or similar programs and their well-paid corporate advocates et cetera is the lack of respect shown for individuals, their personal interests and health and their very necessary capacity for useful, sustainable contribution.
But equally troubling sometimes is how easy it is to forget the importance of respect and dehumanize those with whom we disagree. Stephen Fry explored the use of language as an enabler of otherwise unimaginable awfulness, and I think the historical record largely supports his analysis. So I think that those who would stigmatize persons with legitimate reservations about the viability and desirability of machine pseudo-translation in many of the fields where some would apply it by calling them "haters and naysayers" or comparing them to Tea Party political fanatics should take some more care with their choice of words in the service of their paymasters.
I think it is also good to remember that even some of the most damaging influences in our field are not devils, even if there does seem to be a lot of brimstone in their choice of deodorant sometimes. And if their devilish intents require appropriate actions in response, we should not deny ourselves the opportunity to look for some common ground to temper our actions or at least our pride in a successful action.
And if it all goes to shit, I hope that I can still find the quiet to appreciate and be grateful for a warm paw in my hand, the ache in the joint of my index finger which reminds me that I have a hand to grasp a cup, the light acid bite of juice passing over my tongue, the heat of my fire on a cold December night and a well-chosen word from my head or that of a friend.